Explain the provisions of contract in reference to family and social matters

Most contracts are legally binding, meaning that the parties involved are obligated to fulfill the terms of agreement or suffer the consequences if they default Explain the provisions of contract in reference to family and social matters.

What are contracts?

A contract is an agreement about specific terms and/or conditions between two parties or more in which there is a promise to do something in exchange for a benefit. Contracts are at the core of most business deals. A contract requires: an offer; acceptance of the offer resulting in a meeting of the parties involved; a promise to perform; compensation in some form; a time or event when performance must be made; terms and conditions for performance, including fulfilling obligations; performance, etc.

Most contracts are legally binding, meaning that the parties involved are obligated to fulfill the terms of agreement or suffer the consequences if they default.

Family Law

Family law deals with family-related matters and domestic relations like: marriage, adoption and surrogacy, civil unions, and domestic partnerships, child abuse and child abduction, termination of relationships and ancillary matters (including divorce, property settlements, alimony, child custody and visitation, child support and alimony)

Issues that fall under Family Law vary depending on the jurisdiction. Some issues like marriage law, divorce, alimony, etc fall under this category. All of which are legally binding obligations, for which non-compliance is met with some form of penalty.

Marriage Law

Marriage law determines the legal requirements for the legitimacy of a marriage, which varies among countries with different jurisdictions. However, marriage is an institution that has been filled with several restrictions, thought its history. The restrictions involved range from age, to gender, to social status; restrictions are placed on marriage by the very society we live in.

The age requirement and parental or other consents necessary vary from country to country; once again due to their jurisdictions.

For instance in England and Wales the general age requirement for marriage is 18, but 16- or 17-year-olds may get married with their guardians’ consent. If not the couple can ask for consent from the courts, which may be granted by the Magistrates’ Courts, or the County or High Court family divisions.

Most cultures share the same values on the norms and mores of marriage, such as marriage ceremony, adultery, monogamous relationship, etc.

In many American states, a wedding has to be approved by the justice of the peace in order to be recognized. However, priests, rabbis, and other religious authorities can act as agents of the state and conduct the marriage ceremony. In some countries like France, Japan and Russia, it is a necessity to be married by the government authority separately from religious ceremony, the state ceremony being legally binding. In these cases, the marriage is legalized before the ceremony. Some jurisdictions allow civil marriages in circumstances which are notably not allowed by certain religions, such as same-sex marriages.

Marriage Acts

There are different laws for marriages pertaining to the eligibility, restrictions, responsibilities, etc. Some of the Marriage acts are as follows.

The Civil Marriage Act was a legislation that legalized same-sex marriage across Canada. By the time the bill became approved, courts in all Canadian provinces legalized same-sex marriage except Alberta and Prince Edward Island, as well as in the Nunavut Territory and the Northwest Territories.

The Marriage Act 1961 is an Act of the Parliament of Australia dealing with the governance of legal marriage in Australia. Under section 51(xxi) of the Australian Constitution Marriage is a concurrent power and is currently under the purview of the Commonwealth Government. Prior to 1961, the states and territories administered marriage law.

The Marriage Act 1753, full title “An Act for the Better Preventing of Clandestine Marriage”, popularly known as Lord Hardwicke’s Marriage Act (citation 26 Geo. II. c. 33), was the very first statutory legislation in England and Wales to require a formal ceremony for marriage.

Marriage License

A marriage license is a document issued, either by a church or a governing authority, authorizing a couple to marry. The procedure for obtaining such a license varies between countries and has changed over time. Marriage licenses began in the middle Ages.

Today, they are a legal requirement in some jurisdictions and may also serve as the record of the marriage itself, if signed by the couple and witnessed.

In other jurisdictions, a marriage license is not necessary. In some, a pardon can be obtained, for marrying without a license while in other jurisdictions; common-law marriages and marriage through cohabitation and representation is accepted. There are some jurisdictions where marriage licenses are unnecessary; marriage certificate is given to the couple after the marriage ceremony.

The laws vary for instance; Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that “Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry and have a family. They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution. Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent of the intending spouses.”

Divorce, post divorce and after death issues

Divorce is the termination of a marital union, making all the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage obsolete. Laws concerning divorce vary around the world. However, the sanction of a court or other authority is necessary in a legal process. The legal processes of divorce can raise issues pertaining to alimony, child custody, child support, distribution of property and division of debt; all of which is settled at court or between the ex-spouses.

Alimony/maintenance (in Britain) or spousal support (in U.S./Canada) is the legal obligation for a person to provide financial support to their ax-spouse after divorce. This obligation is derived from divorce law or family law of the respective country. Historically and by tradition, alimony is paid by a man to his ax-wife, however after the 1970s there have been changes in several western countries due to issues with gender equality.

Division of property is a legal division of property (which was acquired during the course of the marriage), rights and obligations between spouses during the divorce procedure. It may be done by agreement by the couple, through property settlement, or by judicial decree.

Child custody is a legal term which refers to the legal relationship between a parent and his/her child; it gives the parent the right to make decisions for the child, and obligates the parent to care for the child. After a divorce one of the parents receives custody of the child/children while the other may get visitation rights. The exception being a joint custody; where both parents have custody.

Child support is a periodical payment made by a parent for the financial benefits of the child/children following the end of a marriage; both members reach a decision on the specifics of who will finance which type of support (education, etc). In case of a joint custody both parents could pay child support.

Inheritance is the passing of property, debts, rights and obligations after the death of an individual; usually to the next of kin. The rules of inheritance differ between societies and have changed over time and vary among countries. In Muslim societies like Bangladesh; property distribution after a parent’ death is in the favor of the male child.


We can now deduce that many laws pertaining family issues are in some aspects legally binding contracts. Laws are diverse there is no doubt that they will continue to adapt and change over time, just as marriage equality is becoming approved in many states of America, due to our growing secularity and knowledge, other laws will change with our views and perspective over time even new laws may arise


1. Marriage license. (2013, February 12). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Marriage_license&oldid=537863237

2. Contract. (2013, February 20). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Contract&oldid=539074834

3. Marriage law. (2013, February 14). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Marriage_law&oldid=527673835

4. Civil Marriage Act. (2013, February 19). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Civil_Marriage_Act&oldid=539107744

5. Divorce. (2013, February 21). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Divorce&oldid=539298281

6. Alimony. (2013, February 17). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Alimony&oldid=538764698

7. Division of property. (2013, February 2). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Division_of_property&oldid=519638829

8. Family law. (2013, February 21). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from


9. Child custody. (2013, February 18). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Child_custody&oldid=537400885

10. Child support. (2013, February 12). In Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Child_support&oldid=525749619